In this novel, a 17-year-old named Alton Richards gets roped into an unusual summer job. He accompanies his cantankerous, elderly rich uncle Lester to his bridge club every week so that he can act as Lester's eyes -- because Lester is blind. It's a testament to this book that, even though I have never been a bridge player, I immensely enjoyed every page -- and learned a lot about the game and the culture of bridge. Of course there's a lot more to this novel than bridge lessons. And like "Holes," it's wonderfully written.
This is the first book for kids by John Grisham, whose name is synonymous with legal thrillers. Needless to say, it's a page-turner. Thirteen-year-old Theo Boone has two lawyer parents, and he's, well, obsessed with the law, trials and justice. When a sensational murder case is tried in his local courthouse, he arranges for his class to attend the opening arguments. He becomes more than a passive viewer, though, getting actively involved as a legal sleuth -- and running risks that keep readers engrossed. Ends in a cliff-hanger that promises more to come.
Several parents might remember lazy afternoons reading "The Baby-Sitters Club" series, by Ann M. Martin during their own childhood. If you loved that series, now's the time to introduce it to the tween in your life. Scholastic has just re-released three books in the series and has published a new prequel, "The Summer Before," which takes readers back to the summer before the infamous baby-sitters club was founded.